COUPLES COUNSELING GROWING CONNECTIONS

Growing Strong Emotional Connections:

At Achieve Family Therapy located in Sandy, Utah we help individuals grow their emotional connections not only through couples counseling but through other evidenced based practices. There is an abundance of research that consistently demonstrates the profound impact of strong emotional connections on mental health and well-being. Cultivating and nurturing these relationships is essential for promoting psychological resilience and thriving in all aspects of life. One of our specialties is helping individuals through couples therapy to learn tools that will foster healthy rituals of connection. In working with couples, I often use the metaphor of a garden.

Those native to Utah may have had the opportunity to attend the annual Tulip Festival at Ashton Gardens in Thanksgiving Point. Not only those living in Lehi, Utah but an upwards of 130,000 guests a year view the event. The festival contains over 750,000 spring flowers. In October 2022, there were over 100 volunteers who joined the garden team where they planted 41,089 bulbs in one hour which broke a world record. Clearly it takes a lot of knowledge, effort, time, and tools to achieve the results that invite so many visitors each year.

Likewise, growing a safe, secure connection with your partner requires knowledge, effort, time and tools. I have had several failed attempts at growing a garden. There is a lot to know about planting a garden including location, soil preparation, plant selection, watering, mulching, pest management, pruning and maintenance. I made the mistake of diving in too quickly and not taking enough time to gain the essential knowledge. Using the wrong soil, location or maintenance plan produced little harvest or at times what looked like mutated, discolored fruit. My own attempt to plant, tulips purchased at the Tulip Festival resulted in the deer having a snack. I now know to protect my tulips from deer by using physical barriers, fencing and repellents. Just as important as knowledge is the effort that I put into growing a garden.

From the initial planning stage to site preparation with all its weeding and debris clearing or amending the soil, there is a tremendous amount of effort needed. The effort goes through stages from planning, to planting, watering, fertilizing, weed control, pest management, pruning, to harvesting. In truth a garden requires continuous care. Our relationships are similar. They often begin with an attraction phase, to forming a deeper bond involving commitment, building intimacy, learning how to work through challenges and conflicts, over time developing a greater sense of commitment and stability and finally reaching long-term growth and development. Couples learn to support each other’s personal growth, pursue shared interests and goals and to adapt to life’s changes together. With so many pressures and distractions in the world today, our efforts can be divided and our relationships may suffer. This means we need to be intentional about how we use our time.

If you don’t put the right amount of time into your garden there is a direct impact on the harvest. Ultimately, the amount of time you invest in your garden will depend on your goals, priorities, and personal preferences. Some gardeners enjoy spending hours each week tending to their garden as a relaxing and rewarding hobby, while others prefer a more low-maintenance approach. Regardless of how much time you put in, the key is to find a balance that allows you to enjoy the benefits of gardening while fitting into your lifestyle and schedule. Similarly, the amount of time, or what you do with that time may vary from couple to couple. Nevertheless, finding an important balance is essential to allowing you to enjoy your relationship and adapt to life’s challenges as a team. Healthy couples know that maintaining a healthy relationship involves utilizing various tools and strategies.

Just like gardening requires the right tools for success, nurturing a healthy and fulfilling relationship requires the right tools. Most people realize they need good communication skills, quality time together, respect and appreciation. Furthermore, having trust, honesty, intimacy and affection are essential. Fostering healthy self-care habits where you prioritize your physical, emotional and mental well-being and encourage your partner to do the same contributes to the overall health of the relationship. Equally essential are having good conflict resolution skills where both partners maintain healthy boundaries. Finally, healthy couples take time to work toward shared goals and values, support and encourage each other, and are adaptable and flexible when needed.

Just like the gardeners at Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point needed help to achieve their goals and earn their award, we often need support and guidance in our relationships. Seeking help is a common practice among successful individuals because it enables them to leverage expertise, maximize resources, maintain balance, and foster growth and development. It’s a sign of strength and wisdom to recognize when assistance is needed and to be willing to seek it out. Our therapist’s at Achieve Family Therapy have the training and expertise to assist you in your growth and development at any stage of your relationship.

Here are a few of the services we offer at Achieve Family Therapy:

PREMARITAL COUNSELING:

Overall, premarital counseling is a wise decision for couples who are committed to building a healthy, resilient, and long-lasting marriage. By investing time and effort into premarital preparation, couples can increase their chances of experiencing a happy and fulfilling life together. Having the proper knowledge and tools at the foundation makes communication, conflict resolution and long-term success easier and couples that participate in premarital counseling are more likely to have stronger, more satisfying marriages with lower rates of divorce.


COUPLES COUNSELING:

Couples counseling is for romantic couples seeking therapy sessions that address issues within a romantic relationship. This includes dating couples, engaged couples, married couples, or even couples considering separation or divorce. The focus is on improving communication, resolving conflicts, and strengthening the relationship. At times, it also involves helping mixed agenda couples discern which action they want to take. The goals of couples counseling may vary depending on the needs and circumstances of the couple. Common goals include improving communication skills, resolving conflicts, rebuilding trust, enhancing intimacy, and strengthening the overall relationship. Couples counseling may incorporate a variety of therapeutic approaches and techniques like emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT), emotionally focused individual therapy (EFIT), betrayal trauma interventions, mindfulness, self-compassion work or more. The therapist tailors the approach to the specific needs and preferences of the couple.

HOLD ME TIGHT CLASS:

“Hold Me Tight” is a relationship enhancement program that was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson, a renowned clinical psychologist and developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples. The “Hold Me Tight” program is designed to help couples strengthen their emotional bond, improve communication, and deepen intimacy in their relationship. It is based on attachment theory, which suggests that humans have an innate need for emotional connection and security in relationships.

The “Hold Me Tight” program is led by a trained facilitator who guides couples through four, two-hour classes held on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 PM. Content discussed includes understanding attachment, recognizing patterns, emotional engagement, repairing and connecting, strengthening bonds and integration and maintenance. This is a class for gaining increased knowledge where personal issues or conflicts are not openly discussed. The class is not recommended for those experiencing safety issues, active addictions, or current active affairs.

MARRIAGE THERAPY:

Marriage therapy offers couples a valuable opportunity to strengthen their relationship, resolve conflicts, and build a solid foundation for a happy and fulfilling partnership. Tools are offered in helping the couple maintain open communication, nurturing the relationship and prioritizing each other’s attachment needs. By investing in their relationship through therapy, couples can overcome challenges, deepen their connection, and create a loving and supportive environment for each other. By incorporating these tools into your relationship first in the therapy room and then at home, you can cultivate a strong, resilient, and fulfilling marriage that brings joy, support and love to both you and your spouse.

TELEHEALTH:

At Achieve Family Therapy, we love meeting with our clients in office and in person. We know that some of our clients prefer this and are willing to commute to meet us face to face. We often are able to service our clients from Draper, Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, Lehi and all the surrounding areas. We also have met with clients in person from Park City, or more south from Eagle Mountain, and the Orem, Provo area. Telehealth allows us to serve all of our clients who reside in the state of Utah.

There are times where the commute length is too great or the time of the commute makes getting away from work too difficult. There are also other factors to consider. Telemedicine offers several benefits, including increased access to healthcare services, convenience, flexibility, cost savings, and improved patient outcomes. It can be particularly beneficial for individuals who live in rural or underserved areas, those with mobility limitations or transportation challenges, and those seeking specialized or follow-up care.

Telemedicine, which includes teletherapy or online counseling, has been increasingly utilized for couples therapy, and there is a growing body of research which supports it effectiveness. A few points being realized from the research is its convenience and ability to increase accessibility. The research is also showing high satisfaction rates among the couples who participate. They report feeling both comfortable and connected while enjoying the convenience and flexibility. Finally, they are also learning that the effectiveness to in-person therapy is comparable. Couples demonstrate similar improvements.

At Achieve Family Therapy, we do not offer telehealth service for play therapy or those needing a higher level of care where safety becomes a concern.

Resources:

Doss, B. D., Benson, L. A., Georgia, E. J., & Christensen, A. (2013). Translation of Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy to a web-based intervention doi: 10.1111/famp.12020. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Shawler, E. W., Givens, A., & Atherton, M. L. (2020). Telecouples therapy: A qualitative investigation of client experiences. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 46(3), 478-492.)

Vernon, L., & Haddock, S. A. (2020). Couple therapy with a twist: A qualitative study of teletherapy with couples. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 46*(3), 464-477.)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *